21 January 2011

The dark side of the Olympics

Colchester Campus

A team of leading sociologists is to explore the darker side of the 2012 Olympics after being given unprecedented access in the area where the games are to be staged.

Professor Dick Hobbs from the University of Essex, Dr Gary Armstrong at Brunel University, and Professor Richard Giulianotti from Durham University are looking at the policing of Olympic-related crime in the run up, during and after the Olympics, and at the broader impact of the Games upon local communities. The team hopes that the research will help the UK to understand the consequences of the hosting and management of sporting mega-events.

The team, which has already undertaken substantial preliminary fieldwork in Newham will investigate and explain the emergence of Olympic-related crime and the everyday demands and pressures caused by activities such as theft, business fraud, drugs, violence as well as night-time economy crime such as the sex trade.

Professor Hobbs said: 'This Olympic Games has been lauded as the first to be staged in an inner-city location, and our research will be concerned with some its consequences. Because of our unprecedented access both with the police in Newham, and within local communities we will be able to examine closely and to explain some of the tensions that will inevitably be generated.'

The research project, which has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, is already underway. Findings from the research will be widely publicised and are expected to generate considerable interest not just from the police and local communities, but other services, agencies, policy makers, businesses and organisers hoping to ensure the games are a success.

Professor Giulianotti added: 'We expect our findings will help the police and other agencies to strengthen their working practices and their relationships with the local community. In the longer term our findings will help London and other UK cities in developing effective strategies for the policing of other future mega-events whether they be sporting or cultural.'

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